When Arnecia Hawkins enrolled at Arizona State University last fall, she did not realize she was volunteering as a test subject in an experimental reinvention of American higher education, Salon reports. Yet here she was, near the end of her spring semester, learning math from a machine. In a well-appointed computer lab in Tempe, on Arizona State’s desert resort of a campus, she and a sophomore named Jessica were practicing calculating annuities. Through a software dashboard, they could click and scroll among videos, text, quizzes and practice problems at their own pace. As they worked, their answers, along with reams...

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